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Are au pairs allowed to claim job-seekers allowance whilst with host family?

(73 Posts)
Mummy1106 Sun 09-Dec-12 15:28:10

Our au pair droped a bombshell on us when she informed us that she is going to claim job-seekers allowance.

Our ap has a lot of spare time and she decided to look for a little part time work.

AP went to the jobcentre, explained that she wants to work part time and they told her that she is eligible for Job-seekers allowance.

Ap came back and told me about her 'great' news, she is very exited and I am very worried as we have never had anyone claiming any benefits from this address.
I explained that people at the jobcentre made a mistake and she got very defensive.
I've been trying to read about this but cant find any information.
She has a very good job with us, she works between 17-20 hr a week and gets £75, she gets her room with tv and wireless + all food. She doesnt have to do cleaning as we have a cleaner.
Is she taking the p...

The whole situation is making me very nervous as I don't want to loose her however I don't want anything illegal attacehd to our address.

I feel that she should not claim job-seekers allowance as she already has a job with us.

Has anyone else had this problem? Please help

nkf Sun 09-Dec-12 15:30:03

I wouldn't have thought so. But au pairs aren't seen as receiving salaries. They get pocket money etc. Unless she is actually a nanny and you are not paying tax. What is your actual arrangement with her?

If her hours are over 16 per week with you she cannot claim JSA.

If her hours were less she could claim, BUT her JSA would only top up her wage to £71 per week ie she earns £20 and gets £51 JSA.

If she wants a part time job thats her concern, not the JCs because she is already employed.

SamSmalaidh Sun 09-Dec-12 15:34:51

She works more than 16 hours a week and is paid more than JSA would be anyway, so she won't be eligible for it. The JC advisor made a mistake or doesn't understand her situation properly.

nkf Sun 09-Dec-12 15:35:29

I wonder if she hasn't told them that she is paid by you.

Though nkf makes a good point. It does depend on her actual employment status.

SamSmalaidh Sun 09-Dec-12 15:38:10

I believe au pairs status is a category of worker rather than employee. They are exempt from minimum wage as they live as part of the family, and pay of under £100ish a week isn't taxed - though if she finds a second job that will be taxed.

Mummy1106 Sun 09-Dec-12 15:48:57

Thank you. She works on average 18 hr week and gets £75, I dont have a contract with her, but give her cash every Friday at 6pm.

I guess I will have to ask her not to apply for JCA
I'll just have to be firm and explain that she is employed here and that we dont want any benefits arriving here.

SamSmalaidh Sun 09-Dec-12 15:59:56

It's up to her if she wants to apply for it, just explain to her that she must be honest about her current employment on the form, otherwise it is fraud. She won't be awarded JSA.

NatashaBee Sun 09-Dec-12 16:03:21

What do you think will happen if she claims benefits using your address? I'd just let her apply, as long as she is honest on the forms. Based on what you've said about her hours, they will say no.

nkf Sun 09-Dec-12 16:11:20

To be honest, I don't understand why she would apply for benefits. Why doesn't she get some babysitting work?

LIZS Sun 09-Dec-12 16:18:36

and is she actually available for work for 16+ hours, does she not take an esol course?

Im not sure why you are so fixated on benefits at your address? hmm

Its not a shameful thing you know.

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 17:31:52

I don't think she explained her situation clearly to the adviser.

mercibucket Sun 09-Dec-12 17:36:59

Op is probably more worried about fraudulent benefit claim at her address than benefit claims in general

mercibucket Sun 09-Dec-12 17:37:02

Op is probably more worried about fraudulent benefit claim at her address than benefit claims in general

happyinherts Sun 09-Dec-12 17:40:29

Pay of under £100 may well not be taxed but if you're paying cash is there any record of this.

Has she gone to the Job Centre just declaring your address as hers without mentioning her au pair job as there's no record of this and this is why you're worried?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 09-Dec-12 17:49:35

I'm guessing it's the potential for fradulent claims too and I would be going absolutely spare as well at this.

The first thing I would do in this situation is tell her that as sam said her role with you does count as a job and give her some form of contract. Did you have one of those invitation letters? Or an email/emails where you laid everything out? These can be used as a basis for what you put in the contract - have a look online for off the shelf nanny contracts that are out there. I don't use something that is as detailed as those contracts normally given that I worry that a non English speaking au pair wouldn't understand much of the language and just stop reading after a bit/get the wrong end of the stick. But I think given the situation here it might be the easiest thing to do to cover yourself.

I am wondering about how it is she had the wherewithal to get herself down to the job centre and cotton on to these benefits. Is she a native English speaker? I can' t imagine one of our au pairs doing this but it reminds me of the woman whose au pair (non native English speaker) found citizens advice and was threatening to sue for unfair dismissal on spurious grounds.

I seriously wonder about this girl's outlook and attitude as well.

SamSmalaidh Sun 09-Dec-12 17:54:13

Oh yes, didn't notice that you hadn't given her a written contract! You need to get something down in writing asap - hours, duties, pay, sick pay, holidays, notice period should be sufficient.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 09-Dec-12 17:54:39

The thing is OP I am guessing you would know about it, if she did it anyway, as something would come through to your address. Does she have a bank account? She would need a UK bank account too I'm guessing for anything to be paid in. I think that she would struggle to get this w/o your knowledge as she needs proof of address.

A contract would give her this though...but you do need to have a contract for all sort of reasons to protect yourself.

I would spell it out for her and say that as she is being paid in her role with you not declaring that and claiming benefits would be illegal and grounds for immediate dismissal.

MissNJE Sun 09-Dec-12 17:56:27

How can she claim JSA as an aupair? Does she have a NI number? I always thought you need one for JSA.

LIZS Sun 09-Dec-12 18:02:00

If she has a nationality from within EU and resident she would have basic entitlements to benefits, NHS and NI no. It is how she is establishing this that is in question.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 09-Dec-12 18:03:33

Isn't it relatively easy to get a temporary one though?

I don't know - back in the day it was for me but maybe it's harder now. (I arrived off the boat in the early 90s....)

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 09-Dec-12 19:08:27

Regardless of the benefits things you really, really need to get a contract sorted.

fraktion Sun 09-Dec-12 20:07:40

She won't be able to get it.

1. The employee/worker distinction is moot if you only have 1 employee. She is employed.

1a. Because she's employed you need to get her a contract ASAP.

2. She earns more than the JSA is, which assuming she's under 25 is actually about £55.

The people at the job centre have got completely the wrong end of the stick.

It does, however, flag up an issue that if she finds another job she needs to be very clear that on the forms they'll give her she must tick the Vic which says the new job isn't her only form of employment.

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